Days 86-92: It’s been a longer break in writing than I expected but there has been some amazing stuff in the interim. Here are some truths, because I say it is so (how about that!):
If you begin to take any steps at all, the Universe/Great Whatsis will have your back: I spent some time breathing and visualizing getting some of the decluttering done rather than telling myself that I need to be organized and pick the correct place to start so that it will all work like clockwork and la de freakin’ dah. What works is Pick Something. Pick anything and just start doing it. I started with my cookbooks. I have one book case filled with cookbooks. I used to have an obscene amount of them and in a post-cancer moment gave away 2 large bookcases worth of cookbooks. What? I told you it was an obscene amount. I gave them to a budding chef, a giggling young woman wearing a hijab, and an unemployed man whose wife collects cookbooks. Some of these are being shared with friends, being shipped off to my daughter, and heading off into the ARC-shaped sunset. With that in motion, an event popped up that afforded me the opportunity to unload, er, gift in donation all of the purses I’m giving away. Two stacks of magazines that I was saving to read on Someday Isle are living happily with other people. Every day I’m doing something to address this–one drawer, one shelf at a time. This is not a race against the clock (well, it kind of is); it’s a race against my own procrastination and right now I feel stronger somehow.
I began setting aside regular time to breathe, visualize, and play with some herbs. I used a mix of orange, patchouli and geranium oils to create a happy wake-me-up scent. Which brings me to another truth: Once things are in motion, in the right direction, don’t be surprised if it starts falling into place like dominoes. I am finding lightness in simple tasks–monthly bill paying, cancelling my DirecTV, seeing the widening eyes of the paint store clerk as I foraged for paint chips. All she said was, “Really? What are you painting?” When I told her I was painting my walls, she was kind of speechless. And then I said it–“There’s not one f*cking white wall in my house now and there never will be.” I started laughing at the names of paint colors as I picked them up. The clerk was SO grateful to go help the guy who wanted white primer. My paint chips have names like Raucous Orange, Forward Fuchia, Blue Mosque and Glad Yellow. One of the first gifts I received while recovering from cancer was the epiphany that if I pay the mortgage on this house, it’s mine! I don’t have to have walls painted Apt. 202 White. People have told me they wish they had the courage to do it. There is no courage involved, just rollers, brushes, and a visit to Home Depot.
The final truth, and the one I am sitting with, examining carefully, is this: Sometimes just being yourself is the most awesome feeling of wholeness and a reminder of how frequently we reduce ourselves to fit our surroundings. I was invited to lunch in the mountains by someone who prefaced the invitation with the words ‘because I want to get to know you better.’ I was incredibly flattered and at the lunch found myself with a mix of friends and strangers. We laughed and talked and I felt myself relaxing and simply being the person I consider my best self. I actually had something to say and some things that people really wanted to hear. I learned some things, too. It was magical and I came face to face with the person I enjoy being and the way I love most to interact. Later in the day I was reminded of how infrequently I am able to do just that. It is not the first time this issue has come up but I know that I want to solve this riddle once and for all and just be. An old friend told me a very long time ago that the most difficult things in my life would not be the experiences of leaving one life for another, changing careers, or even raising my kids. He said the real challenges would be Just Be and Let Go. And so in my year of wanting to be content and practicing simplicity, Just Be and Let Go appear to be holding hands and skipping toward me at a rather steady pace.